Selecting the best gun for home defense can be daunting. A customer walking into a gun store looking for a firearm is faced with hundreds of options of not only which model and make, but more generally whether to purchase a shotgun, pistol or rifle. 

For many people, a pump-action shotgun might be the best choice. First, the sound of the pump racking is a deterrent. That sound alone might be intimidating enough to scare away an intruder. Second, a shotgun is generally easier to use because it provides a wider blast range means you don’t have to be as accurate a shot to strike an intruder. That can be important in a high-stress situation like a home invasion. Another advantage is that a shotgun and its ammunition are relatively inexpensive, so practice at a shooting range is affordable. Finally, shotguns have a wide range of ammunition types which allows you to tailor the ammo to your specific needs.

Two good choices for home defense among shotguns are the Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870. Both are widely used, have proven track records of reliability and are economical. Both are dependable choices for home defense.

A full-size pistol is probably the best choice among handguns. A full-size pistol is better than a compact because there is less recoil, so the accuracy is better if more than one shot is fired.

The advantage of a pistol over a shotgun or a rifle is that it is compact, which makes it more maneuverable in tight spaces, such as a small room or a hallway. The compact size also makes it easy to store in a handgun safe right next to your bed rather than in a safe in a closet, where a shotgun would likely be stored. That makes it more accessible in an emergency.

Good choices among full-size pistols are a Glock 19 or 17 and a Sig Sauer P320. Glocks are sturdy and are popular for home defense because of their firm grip.

The Army selected the P320 as its official sidearm in 2017, a sure sign of its quality and reliability. Always choose good personal-defense rounds when opting for a handgun for home defense.

If you’re not comfortable with either of those options, you might want to look at a rifle. An issue with rifles, though, is that they are less maneuverable. But if insist upon using a rifle, the best-choice is an AR-style rifle. People opting for a rifle should train more with it in close quarters so you are prepared for any situation. Special attention should be paid to selecting ammunition for a home-defense rifle, as these rounds can generally go farther with more velocity than those from either a shotgun or handgun.

The best choice, whether it is a shotgun, pistol or rifle, is picking a firearm you are most comfortable with and most proficient in using so that you are ready to defend yourself and your family when danger is present. When an intruder enters your home, it’s too late to start trying to remember how to use your firearm.

Frequent use also will help ensure the gun is ready to fire when needed. You don’t want to discover a gun is inoperable because it has too much lint in it from sitting for years in a drawer when you are confronted with an emergency. 

Anyone who buys a gun for home defense should practice at a shooting range at least once a month to keep up their skills and to keep comfortable with handling a gun. Because when your life is on the line, you need a firearm that you are comfortable with and have confidence in your ability to properly handle while under duress. The more you train, the better prepared you will be.

If you are thinking about buying a gun for home defense, the experts at AimHi Family Firearms Center can advise you about the best choice for you, whether you are looking for a new firearm or a quality used gun. AimHi also has a state-of-the-art shooting range where you can practice to make sure you are prepared to defend your home.